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DILG lauds Manila for declaring group persona non grata over vandalism

The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Sunday praised the city government of Manila for declaring Panday Sining art group persona non grata over their writings on walls of some establishments.

On Saturday, it was announced that the Manila City Council has passed a resolution declaring militant group Panday Sining as an "unwelcome" group in the city.

“We congratulate the City of Manila for this clear signal to everyone that it will not further tolerate the defacement of the capital city.

“It’s time we help government and that begins by disciplining ourselves. #DisiplinaMuna po. Change starts with us,” DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.

Malaya noted that the local government took 15 years to finally clean the Lagusnilad underpass and more other places to make it more accessible and comfortable for commuters “and yet it took the vandals less than one minute to deface public places.”

In November, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno expressed disappointment over the vandalism on the walls of Lagusnilad, which had just been cleared of vendors as part of the city’s cleanup and rehabilitation efforts.

Cultural youth group Panday Sining apologized for writing a protest art in the underpass, but explained that this action is a “response to this worsening economic and political state of the nation.”

“What do they spray paint on walls and public places? ‘Join the NPA!’ That is not protest art. That is calling for armed rebellion against the government. That’s advocating anarchy. In truth, these groups are calling for anarchy,” Malaya said.

Last week, DILG chief Eduardo Año ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to go after vandals who will disregard the law and deface government properties.

On November 30, operatives from the Manila Police District had arrested four Panday Sining members who were  supposedly caught painting on the walls of LRT Line 2 during protest actions on Bonifacio Day.

Año clarified that his order is a non-political or apolitical directive.

“We live in a democracy. There are many avenues for them to express their opposition. For instance, social media is free and unregulated. They can conduct protest rallies,” he said.

“But the moment they deface public places, they are now violating the law. We must draw a line. Otherwise that is no longer democracy. That’s now anarchy,” he added. —Joviland Rita/LBG, GMA News